Make Do or Do Without

Crayola stampI dashed home from school with a single sheet of construction paper, a page of object outlines, and the teacher’s instructions to glue them onto the colored paper to create a picture of an evening at home dancing in my head. I colored the girl’s hair yellow, her dress blue, and the upholstered chair brown. A single bulb shaded by a frosted square of glass in the kitchen ceiling prompted me add a floor lamp, although we didn’t have one. I colored the post gold and drew pink lace-like squiggles to the bottom of the lampshade. Pets were forbidden in our home, but I wanted a puppy like Spot in my Dick and Jane reader, so I added him next to chair. The large scissors Mama used to cut dress patterns from butcher wrap wobbled in my tiny hands while I cut each outline. I arranged the objects into a scene, ready to be glued in place.

LePage glueI climbed on a wooden chair and pulled open the chickenfeed sack curtains covering the cabinets. I looked for bottled LePage® glue topped with a slanted rubber tip applicator like I used at school.  When I found none, I ran to the bedroom and asked Mama to stop sewing and look for glue. “We don’t have any,” she said as she continued peddling the treadle machine, transforming a clean flower-patterned chickenfeed sack into a girl’s skirt.

I watched for Papa to come home from work, hoping there would be time to rush to the Ben Franklin® dime store before closing. I stared out the back window when he put his tools away and latched the shed. When he stepped inside the house, I rushed to him with my problem. His eyes showed no hint that he heard my plea for glue as he stepped to the kitchen sink to wash his hands for supper.



“You go to school to learn, not to bring work home.” He turned and scowled at my school work spread on the table where supper should be. “There’s no money for such foolishness. Make do, or do without.”

Mother came to my rescue with a white paste made of flour and water. She helped me spread it on the back of the cutouts and glue them to the construction paper. When the paste dried, tiny lumps formed under Spot’s fur. He looked like my neighbor’s dog who had ticks—something more authentic than LePage’s could do.




Filed under Blogging, Memoir, Reading

3 responses to “Make Do or Do Without

  1. Rhonda

    I love these post. It brings back memories, like that kind of glue and making paste out of flour and water.

  2. Thank goodness for mothers. And thank goodness “making do” turned you into the authentic, but ever-so-optimistic woman you are today.

  3. Thanks for the glimpse of you in your youth. Too bad your father didn’t realize the project was a way to learn. But you did it and I bet it looked great.

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